Grand finale for band chairman standing down after 32 years

Martin Briggs (right) hands over the chairmanship to Mike Green
Martin Briggs (right) hands over the chairmanship to Mike Green

Tributes have been paid to Alford Silver Band’s chairman, who has stood down after an incredible 32 consecutive years.

Martin Briggs gave an emotional speech at the band’s annual general meeting, when he said that he had loved steering the band throughout all of those years, but now felt that it was time for a change in leadership.

We would not be in the strong position in which we are had it not been for his wise stewardship

Mike Green, new chairman

Prior to joining the band and becoming its chairman, Martin had been chairman of the (now defunct) Spilsby band for ten years.

For 21 years, he also performed the very exacting role of Principal Cornet, leading the band in its performances, transferring to the tuba in recent years.

Originally from Louth, he was around six years old when he first learned to play the cornet, playing with the Louth British Legion band.

Alford Silver Band became something of a Briggs family affair during his reign. Several members of Martin’s family have played with the band over the years.

His son, Stuart is currently the Principal Euphonium and also holds the office of treasurer. And Stuart’s sons Sean and Liam are members of the Brass Tracks ensemble, part of the band’s acclaimed training programme, where they are progressing well.

He now lives in Chapel St Leonards with his wife, Angela, who though not a player herself, is a keen supporter of the band and regularly helps out behind the scenes.

Cornet player Mike Green was elected to replace Martin as chairman. Mike has served as the band’s vice chairman for the last six years.

He joined the band in 2007 after retiring as Chief Fire Officer of the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Chief Executive of the combined Royal Berkshire Fire Authority. During his service, he received the Queen’s Fire Service Medal for Distinguished Service (QFSM) in 2003.

Accepting the nomination, Mike paid tribute to his predecessor, thanking Martin for steering the Band so well during his extended tenure as chairman.

“We would not be in the strong position in which we are had it not been for his wise stewardship.” he said.

“Martin was fundamental to the extension of the rehearsal centre, liaising with the architect and the builders together with the bandmaster, Alan Waite. Martin has given up a great deal of his time for this band and we are all very grateful for his efforts.

“More recently, the centre has been extended to accommodate the increasing numbers of players that it attracts.

“He will be a very difficult act to follow; but I shall devote my energy into seeking to make the band even stronger in the future. I am fortunate in having the support of a hard working committee around me. We all work well as a team and I am confident that we will continue to drive the band forward, together with our very talented young musical director, Josh Wilkinson.

“No doubt he will miss the chairman’s role; but I am sure I will need to call upon his experience and knowledge from time to time. I have enjoyed working with him as his vice chairman and he has taught me a lot.”

Gary Cole, also a cornet player was elected by the meeting to fill the vacant role of vice chairman. Although a fairly recent addition to the band, Gary has already served a year on the committee and was previously chairman of his former band in Cambridgeshire.

In proposing Gary, Mike told the meeting that “Gary brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the band. He works tirelessly and has already been successful in securing sponsorship to enable us to teach music in Alford primary school. I look forward to working with him in developing the band in the future.”

The band’s full committee comprises:

Chairman - Mike Green

Vice chairman- Gary Cole

Secretary -Jane Taylor

Treasurer- Stuart Briggs

Bandmaster- Alan Waite

Committee members - Bev Burton, Shane Hocking and Andrew Taylor

Information regarding the band, including its forthcoming programme and its well structure training programme are available from the band secretary, Jane Taylor on 01507 466330, or from the band’s website: www.alfordsilverband.co.uk